What is enough?

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Minimalism is about living with only the necessities, not living without them. It’s not about righteous deprivation and suffering. And, despite what some minimalist might preach, everyone’s idea of “necessities” is different.

We vehicle dwellers are minimalists to one degree or another by virtue of not living in a building. There seems to be a scale of nomadic minimalists. At one end are those trying to figure out how to take less with them, and at the other end are those trying to figure out how to take more. The second type is probably more common.

Over time, our personal definition of “enough” tends to drift. Some acquire things they wish they’d had from the beginning or what they discovered they needed after all. Sometimes they add something that just makes them feel good. Feeling good is a necessity, after all. Others realize they haven’t used things they thought they would need in order to live comfortably, safely, happily, so they give them away, lighten their load, make more room. Many of us do some of both. “Enough” is that sweet spot where life is lighter, where having either less or more would become a burden.

However, the spirit behind minimalism is much more important than how many or how few things we have. At its heart, minimalism is about not seeking meaning, purpose, identity, status or validation in material objects. We are not our possessions. We are better than our stuff. Way better.

Al Christensen has been living happily in a self-converted van since 2013, where he’s still trying to figure out what “just enough” is for him.

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7 Comments

  1. Holly

    Hi. My Dream of living a nomadic life style has remained just that; a dream. I’ve accepted the possibility that it might never be possible. It’s mostly money and my dependence on health supplements and chiropractor. Has anyone else experienced this? Were you able to overcome these obstacles? If so, how?
    One other unrelated question:
    How are you nomads staying safe living this way? Especially with the rise in violence and chaos in the world?

    • Frank

      Dave is true to form, “changing your lifestyle”, Online, check out Dr. John McDougall’s web site. Its free

  2. Mary

    A well written post and so true that “enough” is finding a sweet spot that works for the individual.
    I full timed for 2.5 years in a well used c class that was new-to-me when I sold my home and everything in it. This website was invaluable to me then. I was downsizing in a way that none of my retired and empty nester friends. None of them could help or offer advice other than to caution “don’t do it!” So much information on safety, communication, health and money!
    I’ve been off the road for a while now. I bought a small place with the idea that I would have a landing spot and home base while I continued my wanderings in short bursts. I’ve found myself right back here again. I bought my place 3 years ago with the idea that I’d do some repairs that might take a year and then start traveling. Of course, we didn’t know that covid would hit. That affordable RVs would disappear, leaving the remaining ones too pricy for this meager wanderer.
    So, here I am sitting in my house 3 years later, listening to the news filled with danger and covid cautions and with ants in my pants waiting for …for what?
    I’m back here at Cheap RV Living because I’m outfitting my SUV for car camping, using the items I’ve got left over from my nomad life that I’ve saved. Repurposing some things, swapping out a few things by donating the things that won’t work and buying cheap, simple “new” ones at the thrift store. There is way less room in an SUV tha than there is in a 23 ft RV!
    I’ve got a few things on my calendar in the next couple weeks. By the time those are checked off, I’ll be packed up. I’ll lock the door and gas up on my way out of town – heading south.

    • Helen

      Good luck to you, Mary. I’ve been trying to get to the point of buying a cargo van so I can get out of Texas. People aren’t the same. Prices keep going up. Just lost one of my dogs. Stuff keeps happening and I find I’m not getting anywhere. This neighborhood has gone downhill in the last two years and I need to get out. I’m old, probably have waited too long. But I keep trying. I feel like I need to give it a try at least, but at the same time I don’t want to waste what little money I have. You don’t worry about leaving your house? I’ve got “ants in my pants” too. I’ve been trying to work toward this for so long. Hope you can get on the road soon. Sorry, don’t know why I’m writing this, just so much going on and not getting anywhere…..I guess I needed to vent.

      • Ellen Siemer

        Omgoodness I think the words just came out of my mouth..

        I feel exactly the same wonder if and how i will push myself out that door

        Once I do that be be all she wrote so they say 99 chevy astro

        Thanks for listening and any advise for a scarty cat..let me know

        Peace and ❤

  3. David and Ninette

    To answer your last question, I believe Nomad living is safer. For one thing you are on wheels and you can move anytime. If it doesn’t feel right, move. There are a lot of nice places out there. As far as supplements we make our own. I use to go to a chiropractor 2 times a week but haven’t been back for 4 years now. Change of lifestyle and stress makes a big difference. Good luck.

  4. t h

    Holly, start small. Start with car camping at state and national parks for a couple of nights each trip. See if you like it. Work up to longer stays. Or you could try and find another person who goes car camping and tag along with them. They would have some equipment that you could likely use. THat would save you an investment for some camping gear.

    Watch you tubes of people who live in vehicles. Pay special attention to the details of day-to-day life. It was very helpful to me to watch you tubes from people who detail the downsides or things they don’t like about nomadic living and how they work with those things. I really needed to get the full picture of what this lifestyle was like before I could make a decision. I feel safer at a campground than I do at my moderate to low rent apartment

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